Loads to do in the garden this month
Indoor plant of the month … the glorious Hydrangea
Do you know how hydrangeas got the name of ‘Christmas roses’? Quite simply, it’s because they flower in December in South Africa. Over Christmas, they are also sold as indoor plants, standing in as a long-lasting flower arrangement. All Season’s Hydrangea is a single head hydrangea that produces a long-lasting spectacular bloom in pink or white. The normal multi-flower pink or blue flowering hydrangeas are also available as indoor plants. Grown indoors hydrangeas like four hours of bright, indirect light a day, and you’ll find the flowers last longer if the plant is kept cool. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy, using lime-free water if possible. After flowering, the plant can be cut back and planted in the garden. Details: lvgplant.co.za
What do you do when your toddler keeps taking the veggies out of the veggie basket? You pop them up on
the wall where he can’t reach them. And then your idea turns into a luxury brand, offering storage solutions that are both functional as well as beautiful. Locally handwoven and focusing on ethical trading, The Baskiti Co is a minimalist homeware store, where you’ll find their original Baskiti Hanging Basket as well as so much more, including planters with liner accessories and wall hooks. Details: baskiti.co.za
Veggie of the month
Easy to sow, quick to grow and crunchy to eat, radishes sown at the beginning of December will be harvest-ready for festive salads and skewers over the holiday season. Radish Sparkler (scarlet with white tip) and Cherry Belle are easily available, picture packet varieties from Kirchhoffs.
Growing tips …
Sow radishes directly into soil that’s been enriched with compost. Radishes also grow well in containers with good quality potting soil.
Keep the soil moist during germination within five to seven days.
Sow thickly and use the thinned out small leaves in salad. Water regularly because radishes need to grow quickly if they are to be plump and crunchy. Uneven or irregular watering can cause radishes to split.
Try this: Combine radishes with baby marrows, sweet peppers, and chunks of fresh pineapple, or kiwi fruit on skewers. Splash over a chilli-based dressing for a kick and decorate with herbs from the garden as well. Details: kirchhoffs.co.za
The Urban Vegetable Patch would make a lovely stocking filler for a gardening friend. Keen self-taught gardener Grace Paul shares her tips and tricks on growing, harvesting and cooking your own herbs and veggies. Hardie Grant Books, R270
This month we’re planting
Garden toughie Scaevola Bondi Blue takes the heat but keeps its cool, lavender-blue flowers looking fresh throughout summer. Also known as fan flower, this grows best in full sun to partial shade and does well in hot, dry summers. It is a neat garden flower (20cm and 40cm wide) and is good for edgings, rockeries, and as a ground cover or in hanging baskets and containers. If planted around the edge of a container, it will trail over the edge. Water deeply once a week and don’t over-water – these plants don’t like soggy soil. Snipping off the dead flowers encourages it to flower even more. Details: ballstraathof.co.za
Garden tasks for December
- Water deeply and regularly, cut off dead flowers and give annuals a weekly drench of liquid fertiliser to keep everything fresh and blooming for Christmas.
- Sow sunflowers with the kids. The seeds are big so they are easy to work with and they can be sown directly into the soil.
- Water the lawn once a week, but don’t fertilise if you are going away.
- Water containers and hanging baskets once a day and feed with a diluted liquid fertiliser once a week for lush growth and lots of flowers.